a study outline by Pastor Terry Somerville


1. Tongues means "languages"

- these may be known human languages

Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

-these may be unknown languages, even heavenly languages

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels...

1 Corinthians 14:2 howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

2. Tongues is a gift the Holy Spirit gives to "my spirit" so my spirit can pray

, my mind cannot produce it, or comprehend it. It seems foolish

1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

3. Speaking in unknown tongues is praying, blessing, & thanking in the spirit

1 Corinthians 14:15-17 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

4. Speaking in tongues is speaking to God

1 Corinthians 14:2 For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth [him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

5. Speaking in tongues edifies (builds up) the speaker

. He is praying from the very deepest part of his being , in union with the Holy Spirit, in a way unhindered by the natural mind

1 Corinthians 14:4 He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself...

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

6. When these languages are spoken in public and are recognized they are a sign to unbelievers

1Corinthians 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not...

Acts 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

7. When these languages are unknown there should be a gift of interpretation following tongues to edify the church.

This is equivalent to prophecy.

1 Corinthians 14:27 If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, [let it be] by two, or at the most [by] three, and [that] by course; and let one interpret.

8. God will give a speaker in tongues the power to interpret if he asks


1 Corinthians 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue pray that he may interpret.

9. Speaking, praying, blessing and singing in tongues is to be part of our worship


1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

1 Corinthians 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

10. Tongues (like every gift) is affected by the character of the speaker

and can come across in a clangorous manner. It is still a genuine gift but colored by the vessel it's poured through! (This is why many Christian don't like it! -Paul's remedy is love, not elimination)

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

11. Paul directed that tongues must not be forbidden

Many churches today are grieving the spirit by this sin.

1 Corinthians 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

12. The Apostles regarded tongues as proof that the Holy Spirit had come.

Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

13. Common objection - "The perfect has come (the scripture)" so we don't need tongues!

Read the whole scripture reference and ask yourself if the perfect has come or not!

1 Corinthians 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

-Has knowledge vanished away?

-Do you know Him face to face?

Another objection - "The gifts ceased with the death of the apostles

." Picture it , the saints are worshipping in Jerusalem, praying in tongues, laying hands on the sick. Suddenly their voices chokes up, they pull away their hands. " Oh no! John must have died on Patmos. I'm sorry Jesus won't heal you now! But cheer up. The perfect has come."

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